Russian people have some of the lowest trust in climate science in the world, compared to Indian people who have the highest level of trust, the World Economic Forum has revealed.
In a global study of 10,000 people across 30 countries, only 23 per cent of Russians said they had “a lot” or “a great deal” of trust in what scientists have to say about the environment.
Three in four Japanese people also don’t put a lot of stock in climate science, either, and only one in three people in the Ukraine trust climate science.
Less than half (45 per cent) of people in the United States have faith in what scientists have to say about the environment.
On the other side of the spectrum, 86 per cent of Indians said they have a great deal or a lot of trust in scientists’ views of the environment, followed by Bangladesh, Pakistan and China.
Turkey, Mexico and Indonesia also featured highly on the list.
Climate change denial has been named as one of the factors that has driven the world’s Doomsday Clock closer to catastrophe than it’s ever been.
Australia did not feature in the study, but according to the Australia Institute, 77 per cent of Australians said in 2019 that they believe that climate change is occurring.
Why does Russia distrust climate science so much?
According to a research paper authored by a Russian scientist and an American scientist, public perceptions of climate change in Northern Russia is that it is not a pressing issue.
“Unusual weather patterns and single extreme events have a deeper impact than long-term climate change on public perceptions,” the report said.
“The majority of the population considers climate and environmental changes locally, does not associate them with global drivers, and is not prepared to act on them.”
Additionally, even the best climate policies would not be able to be implemented in Northern Russia due to a lack of demand for them.
UNSW Scientia PhD candidate Belinda Xie told Yahoo Finance that it appears Russians have “little personal experience” with the impacts of climate change, compounded by “poor knowledge of how local weather relates to global climate change”.
“When changes in temperature were experienced (according to objective measurements), most people did not perceive these changes correctly (e.g., did not report the correct scale of the change),” she said.
In fact, in some regions of Northern Russia – where temperatures can drop below -40 degrees – higher temperature levels are even welcomed in the short term, as less heating is required and there is less ice inhibiting travel.
“As a result, there is little concern about climate change, which may be why few Russians trust scientists' concerns about climate change.”
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